The pronoun nemo is usually said to have only nominative, accusative and dative forms (nemo, neminem, nemini). The other forms, including plural, are easy to form, since nemo seems to come from ne+homo and homo is easily declined:

  singular plural
N nemo *nemines
A neminem *nemines
G *neminis *neminum
D nemini *neminibus
A *nemine *neminibus

The genitive neminis and ablative nemine are found in Plautus and also in later writers. These forms are rare and (almost, at least) absent in the classical era. I do not understand why these two forms would be considered bad style. The plurals are nowhere to be found.

Do we know what happened to the missing forms? That is, do we know why and how they were left out? As a bonus question, have the plurals ever been used?

The plural forms are admittedly a little unnatural, but I can imagine situations where I would like to use them. If I give a lecture and expect to have a large audience but not a single person shows up, I would be tempted to say nemines aderant. The plural is particularly attracting for events where a single person could not meaningfully attend — a priest cannot wed a single person, for example. Alternatively, if I speak with some utterly unimportant people1, I might say cum neminibus locutus sum. Whether or not you like the examples, I hope you can agree that it is not completely unreasonable to use the plural forms sometimes.

1 I don't classify anyone I know in this category; this might be natural for passers-by that I have no relation to whatsoever. Certainly no user of Latin.SE qualifies as utterly unimportant to me.

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    I think they're in the fish tank at a dentist's office in Sydney.
    – EMBLEM
    Aug 8, 2016 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


"Nemine contradicente" is a kind of set expression in Latin. The plural forms are probably missing because it sounds goofy, in any language, to say "I spoke with no ones."

Ipse loquor Latine fluenter, et nullum problema habeo cum his formis. -Mentifex

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    Thank you for the answer and welcome to the site! I don't see a problem with these forms either, and I wonder why they are so often excluded. And for the record, it doesn't sound goofy to me in Finnish. (I suggest taking a look at our tour and registering your account; it makes using the site easier for you in the future.) Hic certe licet et Latine scribere. Si rogata vel responsa dare voles, utravis lingua uti poteris.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 7, 2016 at 20:14
  • Salvus sis, Mentifex! Aug 7, 2016 at 23:08
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    I'm no expert, but the lack of plurals strikes me as entirely logical - we have the same in English. The British Royal Family are famous for using "one" to refer to themselves, but it does not exist in the plural. And - if no one came, then, logically, 6, 12, 100 didn't! As for your last point, the natural (if rude!) answer to "Whom were you speaking to?" would be "No-one important."
    – TheHonRose
    Aug 8, 2016 at 12:24
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    Can you provide a source for nemine contradicente? I can only find legal references. The other part of your answer seems pretty opinion-based--I think the underlying question is whether these forms "disappeared" or just never existed.
    – brianpck
    Aug 8, 2016 at 13:59
  • @brianpck I know nem. con. as a standard phrase in committee meeting minutes, so you might find references in Robert's Rules of Order or other similar texts.
    – dbmag9
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:24

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